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Big Sky - worth the trip?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My wife (strong intermediate) and I (East expert/West advanced) are considering a week at Big Sky in early Feb. Have enjoyed previous trips to Jackson Hole, Whistler, and 2x Snowbird/Alta. Ski, eat, sleep, repeat works for us. We really enjoy Snowbird, would Big Sky hold up? Any other suggetions?


post #2 of 12
Big Sky is huge. Add in Moonlight Basin right next door and you have an unbelievable amount of terrain at various elevations with a great variety of pitches and exposures. Neither resort ever has a lift line or crowded runs.....runs at Moonlight during the week can seem eerily empty. If all you want to do is ski, eat and sleep its a great place to head. The biggest knock the area gets is a lack of non-skiing things to do.
post #3 of 12
Yes! Was there last year and there is ALOT at Big Sky and Moonlight Basin. We loved it and it is NEVER crowded. We stayed in a house that was ski out/pole in right off of the White Otter Lift.
Moonlight seems to hold snow better, but when we were there, both resorts were lacking and Moonlight was pure ice because it is north facing. Wait til after lunch to hit it if there is not alot of snow.
However, I think this year is racking up to be a good year for snow. Last year s#cked.
With both of your abilities, you will find alot at Big Sky. Moonlight is better for those with lesser abilities, though. We will go back in the future, for sure.
My favorite runs there being an intermediate/advanced skier are to the right of Lone Peak(if you looking up at the mountain) off of Lone Peak Triple Chair and the Shedhorn and Swift Current Chairs.
post #4 of 12
I'm sorry to say that I've never been there, and I hope to change that soon.

I have friends who except for last year, have skied Big Sky yearly for the last decade. They simply rave about the quality of the skiing there as well as the fact that there are never crowds. The opening of Moonlight Basin, and the fact you can now ski both off the same ticket can only add to the experience.

It is known for lacking nightlife, but I doubt the type of skiers that frequent areas like Big Sky are seeking that anyway.
post #5 of 12

You will like Big Sky

Big Sky is one of my favorite places to ski. It is a good sized area with a small area feel. Here are some things I like best about it:

1. The loooong blue and blue/green runs right in front of the base area. (some of those off to the side are this way also) All too often you have to take a sequence of lifts of lifts to get from the bottom to the top. At Big Sky you can ski from nearly the top to the bottom in one great run. This is great for intermediates.

2. Lack of crowds (need I say more)

3. The tram! Although the tram line can be long, it takes you to the top of Lone Peak and makes a lot of steep terrain accessable without hiking. (Check out the trail map) I spend as much time on the tram and on the Challenger lift as possible.

The only 2 drawbacks (skiing wise) it that it is only one mountain and if you like skiing different terrain each day you might get bored if you are spending a week and don't get new snow. And it is not the powder magnet that the Salt Lake areas are.
post #6 of 12
Skied Big Sky very late season one year when the snow was crap, but still loved it. just missed a wet slide after frozen chicken heads off the tram and had to be evac-ed out on snowmobile! It was wonderful. save up some money and go to the spa over at moonlight. Also the drive from Bozeman is worth the price of admission. really really beautiful. especially if you're not all into bars and nightlife stuff. If you want a day off, Yellowstone in winter is really special too.
post #7 of 12
What everyone else said!

Have gone with my Mom, an intermediate who loves groomers, and with my husband, who likes off-piste like I do. Had a great time regardless of who I was with. Mom loved the terrain, and I have to say the intermediate terrain is so much fun, I enjoyed taking runs with her after I spent a few hours skiing the tougher stuff. My husband and I were very impressed with the tough terrain too.

If you're there for several days and want a non-skiing day, definitely try to go to Yellowstone. Winter is the best time to see the wildlife, since they come down into the valley for food and warmer weather. My husband took some awesome photos of an elk with a monstrous rack; even our guide took photos because he said it was the first time he'd seen such a large elk in the park. Took photos of bison, bald eagles, whistling swans, and watched a coyote devour an elk carcass by the river as it fought off crows and eagles (birds won in the end!). Fabulous experience!

post #8 of 12
Spent 4 days there 2 seasons ago... Thought they had a decent variety of terrain. Didn't have crazy lift lines even on the weekend. They weren't doing the full double-area lift ticket with Moonlight yet, so I didn't check that half out. If the double blacks or couliers from the top of the tram (and via hiking) aren't enough for you, you must like base jumping... we had like 2 feet of powder one great afternoon up on the bowl at the bottom of the steeps on the far left of lone peak (as looking from base, when interestingly the rest of the place had only 3-6 inches...) but I had only my 66 waisted carvers and still kick myself for not have the fat skis yet!

I was with a group of guys whose interest in skiing was NEARLY equal to their interest in fine dining and massages/hot tubs; that's so totally NOT me, I'm all about the skiing!!! So MY "unsophisticated" opinion on the after skiing; You can find fine dining, but not a lot of variety... and yes a massage and hot tub too. After a couple nights of hanging with the group and spending way more than twice my lift ticket on MY part of dinner/wine, asked a couple staff (bar tenders/waiter/etc) where THEY hang out. Two of us headed there late, a great cheap beer/pool tables/darts having a blast kinda place!!! Wish I could remember the name?

That's MY best ski resort travel tip... ask the young staff where THEY go!!! Whaaaa Hooo!!


ps One guy trashed a knee so two of the group did the Yellowstone snowmobile trip the last day, they LOVED it!
post #9 of 12
Two of us headed there late, a great cheap beer/pool tables/darts having a blast kinda place!!! Wish I could remember the name?
Sounds like the Black Bear to me.
post #10 of 12
I didn't personally experience the massages at Moonlight, but several of my friends did and said they were "the bomb". And they were relatively inexpensive. Also, Moonlight was supposed to install more snowmaking this season. It is fun mountain and the lift ticket is cheaper too.
Don't miss Buck's T-4 restaurant at the Best Western. Some of the best food and game I have eaten out West. Let us know if you go and how your trip went when you get back!!
post #11 of 12
Big Sky is a great area with terrain for every kind of skier, including some very very steep stuff. Everyone I know that has skied there (myself included) loved it. The drawbacks are that is tends to be colder than almost any place else in the Rockies, and (like many other areas) it is a self-contained resort that has you captive as far as choices and prices. I think they tend to market to the mid-west and the eastern skiers that are more used to cold and cloudy weather. Weathwise it is the most like Jackson Hole from the areas you mentioned.
post #12 of 12

The Big One!

PBR at the Bear is where its at. I miss the tallboys.

Ya gotta go to the Big One. I was a liftie there a few years ago. There is terrain for everyone, and I mean everyone. Andesite is great for intermediate skiers (also some nice off-the-map glades), and there is nothing like spinning tram laps on a quiet week day in a few fresh inches. Also, both you and your wife should be able to experience Liberty Bowl off the tram. It is an incredible experience for intermediate skiers who have never been at such heights. I also highly recomend Shedhorn for good snow,varried terrain, and a backcountry feel. I never skied moonlight and don't see how you could get bored in a week. I skied 100+ days and it never got old.

February can be cold (ex. it was -20 w/o wind chill last week) but you get the more consistent snows and its normally in the 20s. I miss that Cold Smoke.

I'd stay on the mountain, its a hassle to drive up in the mornings and its relatively cheap vs. other resorts.

Send me a personal message if you want some more trip advice.
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